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Old 06-12-2011
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From and engineering standpoint, and considering the frequencies used for the spreadspectrum used for WiFi, I would not rely on it beyond a few miles from shore for anything that might be mission-critical. I consider anything that could impare the safety of the boat (and my family) to be mission-critical when it could endanger us. Weather is not predictable enough to be able to rely on charts that are more than a day old. Weather tends to change, sometimes quickly, and if you are cruising even 20 miles off-shore for more than a day, it would be prudent to have additional means of collecting weather data aboard.

I would consider shortwave reception, with all the propagation shortcomings, to be more reliable and that has also been my experience over the years - both measured and calculated. That is why NOAA has used shortwave to braodcast to boaters for many years.

If your coastal cruising is concluded in marina hoping, then you might be able to rely on WiFi, but if we only plan for the safest conclusion, then I think we are doing a disservice to those that rely on us to keep the passage safe.
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1969 Crealock/Columbia 36 Sloop completely refitted in 2000 and new Yanmar in 2006.
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